State Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) is questioning “special-interest” legislation that would protect suppliers of durable medical equipment from price competition, and require the state to pay higher prices than a competitor might offer.
Senate Bill 2262 states that the Department of Healthcare and Family Services will set minimum fee-for-service rates that must be paid by Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) contracts to providers of durable medical equipment (DME) and supplies.
“This is just one more example of the anti-business environment we have here in Illinois,” Oberweis said. “Senate Bill 2262 is special-interest legislation that undercuts the kind of competition that helps lower costs and saves taxpayers money.”
The Human Services Committee passed Senate Bill 2262 on Feb. 20, by a 6-3 vote with no Republican Senators supporting the bill. The bill is currently pending on Second Reading in the Senate. Oberweis voted against the bill in committee, as did State Sen. Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) and State Sen. Tim Bivins (R-Dixon).
“The concerns raised by Senator Oberweis are justified,” Syverson said. “It is the state’s job to make sure we can deliver the best quality care and the lowest possible costs for our Medicaid program. We are talking about a $10 billion-plus program funded by the taxpayers, so whether it is medical equipment, prescriptions, or healthcare services, we owe it to the taxpayers to deliver the most cost-effective care for our citizens.”
Oberweis says Senate Bill 2262 is a knee-jerk reaction to recent action by one Managed Care Organization that notified durable medical equipment providers that it would cut its reimbursement rates up to 50 percent beginning January 1.
“The reaction by durable medical equipment providers against such a rate cut is disappointing,” Oberweis said. “Those providers should be working with the Managed Care Organization in question to resolve this issue, not defaulting to a special-interest government fix that will very likely end up costing taxpayers more money. If someone undercuts our price, we must find a way to be price-competitive or else to differentiate our product. That’s the way free markets work.”